CLEVELAND -- The Indians activated right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall from the disabled list prior to Tuesday's game against the Brewers, necessitating a decision for Cleveland's outfield alignment. That led to some tough news for center fielder Bradley Zimmer.In order to add Chisenhall to the active roster, the Indians optioned Zimmer
CLEVELAND -- The Indians activated right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall from the disabled list prior to Tuesday's game against the Brewers, necessitating a decision for Cleveland's outfield alignment. That led to some tough news for center fielder Bradley Zimmer.
In order to add Chisenhall to the active roster, the Indians optioned Zimmer to Triple-A Columbus, giving the center fielder a chance to sort through the offensive inconsistency that has plagued his season. The move also comes while rookie center fielder Greg Allen has impressed the Tribe with his improved play over the past couple weeks.
Indians manager Terry Francona and Chris Antonetti, the team's president of baseball operations, met with Zimmer on Tuesday to discuss the decision with the outfielder.
"Offensively, it's been a struggle for him," Francona said. "The strikeouts. We talked to him about that. We wanted to talk to him together. A lot of guys have gone back to Triple-A and worked on their game and then come back. We fully believe that will happen with Zim. We want that. He's our best center fielder. Trying to make some of the adjustments at the Major League level can be hard."
Chisenhall returns from the 10-day DL following a bout with a right calf strain, which flared up on April 7. Beyond Chisenhall, Cleveland's current outfield options include Michael Brantley for left field, along with Allen and Rajai Davis for center, and Melky Cabrera for the corners. Chisenhall, Allen and Davis can be used in all three outfield spots.
Francona said he is not exactly sure how the innings in right field will be divvied up between Chisenhall, who bats from the left side, and the switch-hitting Cabrera.
"I don't really know," Francona said. "'Mixing and matching' is probably the right word. Melky certainly fills a spot pinch-hitting, because he is a switch-hitter. We usually try to work two to three days ahead [with our lineup]. We'll look at it like we always do. I don't have the exact answer in front of me, though."
The Indians also have outfielders Brandon Guyer (neck strain) and Tyler Naquin (left hamstring) still on the 10-day DL. According to Francona, Guyer is on target to come off the DL on Friday, while Naquin will continue his Minor League rehab assignment on Wednesday.
Zimmer, who was activated from the DL on Friday after dealing with a rib contusion, has hit .226 with a .611 OPS in 34 games, in which he has struck out at a rate of 38.6 percent. Allen, who has bounced between center and right for the Tribe, has hit .300 over his past 15 games with five extra-base hits, five walks, three steals, eight runs scored and an .835 OPS.
"If you're striking out 40 percent of the time," said Francona, referring to Zimmer, "you've got to really be doing some damage when you hit the ball. And he understood that. He said he knows he needs to make some adjustments. We didn't want to send him down and have him feel like he's on an island. We wanted to talk to him."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.